Sci-fi paperback book in which the male protagonist had the ability to visualize future events based on his actions


New Member
Aug 28, 2020
This allowed him to take the action with the optimal future outcome. I believe I read it 15 to 20 years ago. The title might have had the word Altered in it and the cover of the paperback novel had some type of flash to it. I think if you tilted the book you might see a different image.
Probably not the right answer, but let's try, if only to eliminate a possibility.

The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick.

"The eponymous "Golden Man" is a feral young man named Cris with gold-colored skin, who does not appear to be sapient but possesses the ability to see into the future (specifically, the ability to see all possible outcomes from any single action, described in the story as similar to a chess player with the ability to see all possible moves 5 steps ahead). "

The movie Next with Nicholas Cage is very loosely based on the story.

When you say the cover has a flash, do you mean a lightning bolt?
Here's one version of a cover for the book.
@Galexyz .... More information would be good. Anything you can add would be very helpful.

For example by what you say the book could be God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert. The main character can see the future and for his plan to work out he must see to it that certain steps are taken. And I have no idea what all the covers the book has had over the years are like. But I think you would probably remember if the main character was a human/sand worm.
Possibly PSTALEMATE by Lester Del Rey.

Harry, the protagonist, has his latent psi ability accidentally unlocked by a hypnotist. He slowly becomes aware he has a precog sense and can visualise himself in various situations in a few months, some good and some bad.

He begins to alter his actions to reduce his odds of ending up in the bad/unpleasant situations, instead he tries to ensure he gets the better options.

Maybe one of the book covers was done in the holographic effect you mentioned, I haven't looked (too early and I need coffee)
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Oh, I wonder if this is the one I've been trying to think of, for years! @Galexyz, was the MC a scientist, and did the viewing of these future events often happen in his lab? In the one I read (about 15-20 years ago!), I think the MC could view the outcomes of any action he took, and thus avoid the bad outcomes, and they optimized their future by selecting only the outcomes to their actions that gave them the results they desired. It was a path to personal power and wealth, maybe ... I don't think the future-choices were for the benefit of humanity (but I could be wrong). There may have been political intrigue when others wanted to steal the technology from the MC for their own nefarious purposes. I think sometimes the events the MC wanted to alter were many days in the future, but sometimes they were just moments in the future - for example, if the MC was going to be attacked, they may have wanted to look seconds ahead to see the one possible alternate future that would prevent their own death.

I've been wondering about this book for years, but I honestly cannot remember any other details (and I'm not 100% sure this is the same book, though it sounds very similar). Hope someone can help Galexyz.

edit: after seeing Danny's response, I am now uncertain as to whether it was scientific, or psionic, abilities that allowed the MC to see the future....but I swear there were scenes set in a lab...
Just wondering if details like these appeared in your book:

There is more than one person that can walk through the different paths of their mind and choose the best one, which allows them to accomplish many different things, like disappear from a locked police car, or in the case of one of the other characters, see inside her own body that she has an abscess and is able to put her hands inside of her body and scrape the abscess off without causing further harm.
Seems very reminiscent of Greg Egan's Quarantine... but different. The protagonist could, IIRC, prevent the quantum wave function collapsing and therefore choose the best out of many worlds to move into, such as the world where a door was accidentally left unlocked, or a world in which he didn't die. This actually sounds more like Cat's Cradle's book, a lot of the story was set in a lab.
Sort of reminds me of the psychohistorian Hari Seldon in the Foundation series by Asimov
Hari Seldon was a scientist, who developed a mathematics of humanity-- he 'predicted' the main flow of history based on his study of how mankind reacts to stimuli. He was limited-- he could predict main arcs of events, but not what a single person could do. His Plan was placed at risk when The Mule, a genetic mutation, deflected the course of humanity from what Seldon had predicted.
I'm starting to think this book is a book I read and would like to rediscover as well.

I've been scouring for the book I'm thinking of but haven't had much luck. If it's the same book OP is looking for, I do distinctly remember the writing style was similar to Heinlein or Isaac Asimov. Technical, methodic, and occasionally rife with low key dry humor.